Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were among the third-round winners Friday at the French Open.
Neither advanced easily, though, as both needed four sets.
Djokovic came away with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4 victory over Croatia's Marin Cilic and Federer earned a 7-5, 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Russian Dmitry Tursunov.
The second-seeded Djokovic won his eighth straight match. He entered the year's second Grand Slam after capturing the Italian Masters, which included a victory over Rafael Nadal in the final, and won each of his first two matches this week in straight sets.
Cilic, it appeared, would meet the same fate after the first two sets, but he dominated the third-set tiebreaker. Djokovic then earned an early break for a 2-0 edge in the fourth before Cilic battled back with a break and evened the set at 4-4. Djokovic held again and Cilic was ahead in the next game before the Serb won the last three points, the final one coming on a Cilic double fault.
"First two sets and beginning of the third I had some chances to break him and kind of get the job done in straight sets, but he started playing a little bit better," said Djokovic. "He played great, the end of the third, especially in the tiebreak. I complicated my own life there in the fourth. But generally it was a difficult match from different aspects."
Djokovic improved to 9-0 all-time against Cilic and will next play French crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 13th seed cruised to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over Poland's Jerzy Janowicz to reach the fourth round for the fifth time in the last six years. Tsonga was a semifinalist last year, losing to David Ferrer.
Federer, meanwhile, also won his first two matches in straight sets this week before a test from Tursunov on Friday. The Moscow native fought off 17-of-21 break-point chances before finally falling. The third-round exit tied his best finish in 11 appearances at the French Open.
The fourth-seeded Federer, the only French men's champion in the draw outside of eight-time winner Nadal, also beat Tursunov earlier this year in the third round at Indian Wells and advanced to a fourth-round meeting with Latvia's Ernests Gulbis.
"I'm pleased to be through," said Federer, the 2009 champion. "Like expected, it was not a straight-forward, easy match. I knew that Dmitry was going to try different things, play aggressive, serve well and then take big cuts at the ball. That's kind of how it went."
Gulbis, coming off a win last week at the French Open tune-up in Nice, eased past Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the fourth round for the second time at Roland Garros. He made the quarterfinals in 2008 before falling to Djokovic.
Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych needed four sets to dispose of Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, claiming a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 triumph to reach the fourth round for only the fourth time in 11 appearances at Roland Garros. The Czech's best finish was a run to the semifinals in 2010.
American John Isner is next for Berdych. The 10th seed went more than three hours to complete a 7-6 (15-13), 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 victory over Spain's Tommy Robredo.
Isner had never beaten a Spaniard in a Grand Slam in five previous attempts and became the first American since Robby Ginepri in 2010 to reach the round of 16 in Paris.
Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic outlasted Frenchman Gilles Simon in five sets, rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Raonic became the first Canadian to reach the fourth round in the French capital and will next play the winner between Spain's Marcel Granollers and Slovakia's Martin Klizan.
Darkness nearly stopped Raonic and did halt the Granollers-Klizan match after three sets. It will resume Saturday with Granollers holding a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) advantage.
Saturday's third-round action also includes the top-seeded Nadal against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, the fifth-seeded Ferrer against Italy's Andreas Seppi and seventh-seeded Andy Murray against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.